Online Courses

Alison Bechdel: Creating an Accurate Reflection of Self


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Instructor: Abstract:

Alison Bechdel, 2015 Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media WinnerHear Alison Bechdel, winner of the 2015 Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, speak about her creative process and books Fun Home and Are You My Mother? As she states, "I'm so interested in psychoanalytic ideas, but I want to make them accessible; I want to show how they manifest in the concrete realm of my life."

Bechdel is a cartoonist and memoirist, best known for her landmark comic Dykes to Watch Out For ( and for her two illustrated memoirs. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic focuses on the author’s complex relationship with her father, who died in an accident that was probably suicide. The book is a riveting and clear-eyed account of a gifted and troubled man—and the way that an emotionally cold but aesthetically rich environment shaped the artist herself. Like psychotherapy, the book directs its attention to the truth of the past with an effort to channel it into a creative present. In her second book, Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama, she tells of her conflicted relationship with her mother as she describes alongside two courses of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.  She is also known for the Bechdel test, an indicator of gender bias in film.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a 2014 MacArthur "genius" award, Mellon Residential Fellowship for Arts and Practice at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center at the University of Chicago and the 2012 Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle.

In April of 2015, the Broadway musical adaptation of her book Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic earned 12 Tony Award nominations and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The play was a Critics’ Pick of both The New York Times and New York Magazine, who named it “The Best Musical of the Season.”

Format: Videocast

Learning Objectives

To identify links between psychoanalytic theory and art/writing.
To summarize the artistic process related to creating an illustrated memoir.
To discuss the role therapy plays in the construction of narrative stories.

System Requirements

The Austen Riggs Center Continuing Medical Education and Online Courses system is offered to users who are able to access these courses with systems and devices meeting the following requirements:

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